Pager Duty


So one of the less glamorous tasks associated with my new job is pager duty. Among the various other FEDs (Front End Developers), we each take on the pager for a week at a time. The pager receives emails that get sent out to a support email address, and we’re basically “on-call” to jump in, should anything front-end related arise.

As of yesterday, it’s my week with the pager.

Not everything involves our team, but I still have to check every email as there might be a question for our team. During the week, if issues arise that require a FED… I’m the one jumping in, trying to help troubleshoot or whatnot. Unfortunately, the pager hours extend a bit beyond the regular work day. If the pager goes off between 7AM and 10PM, I need to be near a computer in case I need to jump online and troubleshoot/fix something. And yes, it counts through the weekend as well.

Thankfully, we have an offshore team that takes over support after 10PM. So I’m not quite as bad off as some sysadmins, who are basically on call every moment of their lives. But in talking with my coworkers who have been here a while (and have had their share of pager duty), owning the pager definitely changes how you view time.

During the day, it’s not too bad – people are online and around, and issues usually get sussed out relatively quickly. But for the off-hours, I need to be mindful of where I am and where I’m going: so long as I can get to my laptop and be online relatively quickly. Going to the store for groceries suddenly is a bit trickier, as I need to remember to bring my laptop so I can pop into the nearby Starbucks if need be.

This weekend will also be kind of interesting, as we’ll be driving a bit and visiting family. I’ll be on the road a good while, so I’m not sure just how often the pager will go off. So far, there have only been small clusters of incidents. As others have said, sometimes it’s super quiet… and other times, it gets kind of busy and crazy. Here’s hoping for a quiet weekend.

It’s been about 5 years since my last Blackberry. Definitely feels weird to have one again, even if it’s only for a week.

Related:
The Blackberry Convenience/Constraint
iPod, Blackberry, iPhone: Then and Now
Holy Crap – I Have a Cellphone

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